Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Supporting NPR's digital transition

Dec. 14, 2011, 9:23 a.m., Posted by John Bracken

Today Knight Foundation is announcing a $1.5 million grant over two years to support NPR’s digital transition

The grant will enable NPR to provide deeper training to journalists in its newsroom and to expand the program to include staff at public radio stations. The grant builds on an investment we made in 2007 to help NPR staff become “more competitive and effective" in the digital age.

We conducted an assessment of that program earlier this year, which we are publishing today. The assessment found that NPR should accelerate the program and that a vital component of training is ongoing follow-up and support. These funds will enable NPR to provide its journalists, as well as others within public radio, with the practices and approaches that will best allow them to engage with audiences.

In making this grant, Knight Foundation is betting on NPR. Our expectation is that NPR will not just continue to provide quality journalism, but that it will become a model for nimbleness in the digital age and that it bring some stations along with it. By the end of this grant period, we hope that NPR will be seen as a model among news organizations in the use of digital and social media, not just to advance its programming, but to enhance the public’s feeling of ownership in public radio.

NPR has had a tumultuous year. The arrival of new CEO Gary Knell, along with the ongoing leadership of NPR's chief of digital Kinsey Wilson, has us feeling confident about this investment. We look forward to working with and learning from NPR over the next few years as part of our stepped-up efforts to find the most effective ways for informing and engaging Americans.